Moulting and egg laying or the lack of

All the girls are still moulting in differing amounts. To my amazement Speckles and Emerald are still dropping a few feathers. They seem to have been dropping feathers for such a long time this year. They both stopped laying after the first week in June and moulted quickly to start with but have continued dropping a couple of feathers each a day.

Apricot laid two eggs in the first four days of September and hasn’t laid since. Seramas are supposed to moult a few feathers at a time all year round but Apricot has had quite a heavy moult. She has had a mass of pin feathers on her head and has been dropping long wing and tail feathers.

Freckles has always been the best layer of the little girls and throughout October she has continued to lay every other day. Dandelion and Cinnamon laid until the end of September and have each laid two eggs during this last week.

Dandelion’s first egg was in the chicken shed first thing in the morning and was unbroken but her second egg was also in the chicken shed in the morning and was, once more, thin shelled and broken. I have resumed the mash at weekends with crushed egg shells but she hasn’t laid one since so I don’t know if it will help her.

This morning Apricot had a loose wing feather sticking out on each side. I went to get my camera and by the time I returned one feather had dropped out. I took a photo just before the other feather dropped out.

Apricot with a loose wing feather

She still has pins on her head but they are opening now into fluffy little feathers.

In the afternoon all the little girls gathered together in the small shelter. It’s the first time I have seen them all in there and I went for my camera once more. When I returned Speckles had joined them. It’s the first time I have seen five girls in a shelter.

Speckles and the little girls gather in the small shelter

Freckles and Apricot are snoozing

It was lovely to see them all gathered in here. When we first came up with the shelter idea I wasn’t sure if the girls would use them so I am pleased that they seem to like them. I think the shelters will be really useful in the winter during cold or windy weather.

The ladder and high, branch, perches remain the little girls’ favourite spots but recently they have discovered all the little, lower, perches too.

I have deepened up the shavings in the chicken shed as it’s got colder and it has been good to see the girls snuggling up together apart from Freckles but even she is perching closer to the door now.

In other news I have been checking and clearing any mouse evidence from under the little coop nest boxes every morning. The droppings have fallen from six to eight to only three or four over the last couple of nights. This is the opposite of what I would have expected with colder nights.

I now wonder if there had been two mice and perhaps one has demised leaving one lone mouse. There were so few droppings that I originally thought that there was only one mouse anyway but it’s odd that the droppings have reduced to such a small number. To be honest even from one lone mouse I would expect more evidence but I have thoroughly searched and that seems to be the only evidence.

I am not complaining though as the less evidence of a mouse the better. It will only be another two or three weeks before I can remove the food bowls over night and then there will be nothing to attract them in.

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10 Responses to Moulting and egg laying or the lack of

  1. David Anderson says:

    It is strange that, for some, the moult seems to go on and on, whereas others seem to lose most feathers all at once. I still have some moulting. Most of the silkies are still laying, so no doubt there’ll be more spells of broodiness coming up. Butterscotch has snapped out of her broodiness (at this time of year, I just leave them, as it’s too unpleasant to have them in the anti-brody cage), but has not as yet resumed laying. She’s already had a mini-moult, so may go on to have a fuller one.

  2. Jenny says:

    Freckles is looking superb đŸ˜€

    • Funnily enough she was dozing when I took those photos so she actually looks better when she is alert but she is my best ever egg layer. I was counting up on my egg record sheet today and she has laid many more eggs than any of the other girls. I will do an egg count at the end of the year as usual but at the moment most of the girls have laid between twenty and fifty and she has already laid well over a hundred.

  3. Kevin says:

    I think the shelters are great and still plan to copy the idea! I just haven’t got round to it yet.

    • I only felt the need for the shelters when I got seramas because I read that they need a bit of extra protection in bad weather. Now that we have the shelters it is fun to see the girls use them. They don’t stay in there for long though. It’s just somewhere they can hang out occasionally.

  4. marion.pharo says:

    Nice to see them all in the shelter. means they will use it when the weather is cold.

    • That’s what I think every time I see them in there, that it should mean they will use it in winter. It was very cold mid morning today and Dandelion appeared to be missing, then she popped out of the shelter. She must have been keeping warm.

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